Shakespeare and his Theater

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 11th gradeA+, April 1993

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Shakespeare and his Theater

Compared to the technical theaters of today, the London

public theaters in the time of Queen Elizabeth I seem to be

terribly limited. The plays had to be performed during daylight

hours only and the stage scenery had to be kept very simple with

just a table, a chair, a throne, and maybe a tree to symbolize a

forest. Many say that these limitations were in a sense

advantages. What the theater today can show for us

realistically, with massive scenery and electric lighting,

Elizabethan playgoers had to imagine. This made the playwright

have to write in a vivid language so the audience could

understand the play. Not having a lighting technician to work

the control panels, Shakespeare had to indicate wether it was

dawn or nightfall by using a speech rich in metaphors and

descriptive details. Shakespeare's theater was far from being

bare, the playwright did have some valuable technical sources

that he used to the best of his ability.

The costumes the actors

wore were made to be very elaborate. Many of the costumes

conveyed recognizable meanings for the audience such as a rich

aristocrat wearing silk clothes with many ruffles. Many times

there were musical accompaniments and sound effects such as

gunpowder explosions and the beating of a pan to simulate


The stage itself was also remarkably versatile. Behind it

were doors for exits and entrances and a curtained booth or

alcove useful for actors to hide inside. Above the stage was a

higher acting area which symbolized a porch or balcony. This was

useful in the story of Romeo and Juliet, when Romeo stood below

Juliet and told her how he loved her. In the stage floor was a

trap door which was said to lead to 'hell' or a cellar,